"Do not underestimate him."
Seraphina Picquery[src]

Gellert Grindelwald's escape was an early conflict of the Global Wizarding War and a victory for the Dark Wizard Gellert Grindelwald and his Acolytes. It took place on a stormy night on 30 May 1927, in the skies and surrounding area of New York City, New York, USA, as the International Confederation of Wizards prepared Grindelwald's extradition to Europe.


Background information

The attempted extradition

CoF Thestral carriage

The thestral-drawn carriage takes flight from the MACUSA platform at the top of the Empire State Building

On 30 May 1927, International Confederation of Wizards sanctioned Gellert Grindelwald's extradition to take place and Grindelwald was supposed to be transported from MACUSA's prison to Europe in and Incarceration Carriage by Rudolph Spielman and Aurors, to be put on trial for crimes he committed.[2] Prior to the move, due to Grindelwald's gift of persuasion, he had his tongue cut out, as several guards had sided with him.
Grindelwald escape

The true Grindelwald using the Elder Wand from atop the carriage.

President Picquery cautions Spielman to not underestimate Grindelwald. Meanwhile, Grindelwald is loaded inside the thestral carriage with Spielman and two guards, with his hands bound behind his back. At the last minute, Abernathy has also shown up with a case supposedly containing Grindelwald's wand. The wand is stated to be found during a search. At President Picquery's prompting, Abernathy also reveals a silver vial on a chain, and says that it was also found in the search. The vial appears to have a glass centre that glows pink from within. Spielman is later shown to have taken possession of the vial to safekeep it for the trip.

The transport gets going, and flies off the platform back towards Europe, with two Aurors inside, two Aurors as footmen at the back of the carriage, and four Aurors on broomsticks riding behind it.[3]

Unbeknownst to the guards and the MACUSA President, Grindelwald and Abernathy had managed to use human transfiguration and switch appearances. When the carriage with the false Grindelwald sets off, Grindelwald, still disguised as Abernathy, Disapparates from the MACUSA platform and Apparates underneath the carriage, using the Elder Wand.[4]

In mid-flight, Abernathy's disguise is revealed inside the carriage, but it is too late. The true Grindelwald Apparates on top of the carriage behind the driver's seat. Grindelwald attacks the drivers one at a time, throwing them off the carriage. As one driver flies back, he unseats the two Aurors from the back of the carriage.[5] The four on broomsticks are able to stay in pursuit, but cannot quite catch up.

Grindelwald casts a spell through the carriage. Inside, the wands of the two Auror guards and Spielman point at their own throats instead of at Abernathy. Another spell causes Spielman's white-handled wand to appear turn to glowing ash; it almost appears to dissolve through the back window, where Grindelwald's face appears. Abernathy sees him first. Abernathy's gaze causes Spielman to look out the back window over his shoulder. He sees Grindelwald, and now understands the other half of the ruse. Panicking, Spielman opens the case in order to check for Grindelwald's wand. He finds only Antonio, Grindelwald's Chupacabra, which attacks him.[6]

IMG 0800

Spielman's wand disappears

When Spielman attempts to alert the footmen Aurors, not knowing they are long gone, Abernathy lunges at him and knocks the silver vial loose. The two guard Aurors struggle with Abernathy, while Abernathy tries to get a hold of the vial. Abernathy can use only his mouth, as his hands are still bound behind his back. When Spielman tries to recover the vial, Abernathy bites his wrist.

Grindelwald is now in the driver's seat, aware of the fight below him and the Aurors pursuing behind. Taking control of the reins, Grindelwald drives the carriage down to the Hudson River, the wheels and thestral hooves grazing the water. One of the Aurors crashes his broomstick into a bridge caisson during the chase. Then Grindelwald, using his wand, fills the carriage with water from the river in order to subdue the struggle. This allows Abernathy to get hold of the vial. Grindelwald then drives the carriage from the river and into the clouds.[6] Still pursued by at three of the Aurors, Grindelwald causes lightning to strike them with his wand. All three are knocked from the sky.[7]

IMG 0799

Spielman and the two Aurors being jabbed by their wands

Grindelwald now leaves the thestrals to drive themselves. He blasts off the carriage door with his wand, causing the river water to burst out, along with the two Aurors inside. Spielman manages to stay in his seat, cringing. Grindelwald climbs inside, retrieves the silver vial, and restores Abernathy's tongue with a split, reptilian one. He then proceeds to ruthlessly throw out his Chupacabra, who is trying to cuddle with him, calling the creature "so needy." Grindelwald then dangles Spielman from the open doorway. Spielman's wand has reappeared. It is in the hand of the arm that Spielman is gripping for dear life.

Grindelwald finally throws Spielman from the carriage through the open doorway, but tosses Spielman's wand after him.[8] Spielman falls through the sky, desperate to catch up with the falling wand. Spielman has fallen for several seconds, and is terrified, but is also within arm's reach of the wand. From his perch in the carriage doorway far above, Grindelwald makes a gripping hand gesture. Spielman's hand imitates the move, snatching up the wand. Spielman just barely has time to cast a Slowing Charm to stop his fall. He safely splashes into the New York Bay from just a few feet up. Speilman bobs in the water and witnesses the carriage disappear into the night, living to tell the tale.[9]


Notes and references

  1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 3 specifies that the attempted extradition of Grindelwald took place following six months of imprisonment; since Grindelwald was detained following the events of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (film), which took place in December 1926, this would mean that this event took place in around May or June 1927. Even though the exact date is not given in the published screenplay, a The New York Ghost prop from Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald announcing Grindelwald's impending extradition (see this image) is dated "Monday, 30 May 1927".
  2. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
  3. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 5
  4. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 6
  5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 10
  6. 6.0 6.1 Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 12
  7. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 14
  8. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 15
  9. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald - The Original Screenplay, Scene 16
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